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Religious Institutions and Empowerment: The Case of Indigenous Religions in Ghana

Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan
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  • Design
  • Religious Science


The relevance of institutions, in terms of directing or influencing both collective and individual actions in societies, cannot be overemphasized. It is not a coincidence, therefore, that a lot of literature emphasizing the role of institutions in directing social interactions abounds. This paper examines the role of indigenous religious institutions in the empowerment of people using the indigenous/traditional religions in Ghana as a case study. In this study, indigenous institutions refer to the structures or strategies including the worldview, beliefs and practices, customs, norms, values, etc. that are designed to empower and at the same time regulate the general attitudes and actions of people in a society. In traditional or indigenous African societies, such institutions are usually underpinned by the local religious thought. Sadly, the importance attached to traditional religious institutions in empowering people is no longer as great as it used to be due to factors such as the weakening of indigenous African religions, which form the basis of many of the traditional institutions in African societies. But this study argues that indigenous religious institutions are important resources which, when well developed, can continue to empower the people, especially the indigenous people, to improve upon their livelihoods. They should, therefore, not be allowed to disintegrate, since this will worsen the plight of the indigenous peoples.

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